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UMNO urged to do more for Malay superiority

KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysia’s largest party, the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), must embolden its defence of the Malays as the community is starting to lose hope in the party and the country would achieve national unity only when bumiputras are recognised as a core group in national policy formation, a mega-gathering of Malay rights groups warned yesterday ahead of UMNO’s general assembly this week.

UMNO urged to do more for Malay superiority

Perkasa president Ibrahim Ali giving a speech at Konvensyen Perpaduan Nasional in Pusat Islam Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Nov 23, 2014. Photo: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysia’s largest party, the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), must embolden its defence of the Malays as the community is starting to lose hope in the party and the country would achieve national unity only when bumiputras are recognised as a core group in national policy formation, a mega-gathering of Malay rights groups warned yesterday ahead of UMNO’s general assembly this week.

At the National Unity Convention of Malay non-government organisations (NGOs) yesterday, UMNO politicians were also told to avoid corruption, said to be the primary cause behind the negative perception against the party and which is keeping potential members and supporters away.

The convention was attended by over 300 Malay Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) to debate and pass a National Unity Memorandum draft to be delivered to Prime Minister Najib Razak during the UMNO general assembly this week.

Their calls came as Mr Najib was also reported saying yesterday (SUN) that suggestions to abolish vernacular schools were undermining the party’s efforts to regain the backing of the Chinese, a group that is vital to its electoral performance. (See other story)

“We held the convention, published the memorandum and highlighted the motions because at this time some native Malay Muslim citizens feel as if they have lost somebody to depend on,” said Mr Ibrahim Ali, the president of Malay rights group Perkasa, while tabling the convention’s memorandum.

He said there was “not much time left” for UMNO in the current political landscape that has seen even the party’s senior leaders lose in elections.

UMNO is the largest party in the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition. Although the BN secured its 13th straight election win last year, the result was also its narrowest victory since Malaysia gained independence in 1957, an outcome described by Mr Najib -- who is also UMNO president -- as the result of a “Chinese tsunami”. Mr Najib had used the phrase to describe Chinese voters abandoning the BN in favour of the opposition.

The result had led to calls for the BN government to stop courting the Chinese and for the country’s dominant Malay community to be rewarded for their show of support.

Yesterday’s (SUN) memorandum also said that identifying a core group of “bumiputeras”, or ethnic Malays and indigenous peoples, was necessary to preserve peace in Malaysia’s multi-racial society. It added that bumiputeras fit the bill of being a “core group” (bangsa teras) because they were the “original” settlers of the Malay archipelago.

“Bumiputeras as the core group and majority is important in forming national unity policies in Malaysia,” read the memorandum, which called on the core group to be the conceptual cornerstone in the formulating and implementation of all actions, programmes and policies in nation forming, building and development.

But it also stressed that national unity was not the sole responsibility of Bumiputeras alone, adding that Malaysia would be torn apart should the other races wash their hands of the matter.

Although it acknowledged Mr Najib’s attempts to promote unity through the National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC), the memorandum said the council should be abolished as it was “dominated by Malaysians who are said to be liberal”. It suggested instead replacing the NUCC with a new council chaired by Mr Najib.

In a keynote speech at the same event, former chief justice Abdul Hamid Mohamad also chided UMNO leaders, urging them to “know themselves”.

“UMNO should be the dominant party for Malays and Muslims. The problem is with its leaders. The number one factor that makes people hate UMNO is the high corruption perception. UMNO must correct this perception, not just with words and campaigns but to avoid corruption,” Mr Abdul Hamid said.

Mr Abdul Hamid claimed that Malays were in danger of becoming “Red Indians” in their own land if the opposition Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) and UMNO did not cooperate to defend the government from PAS’s alliances in the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) alliance – the predominantly Chinese Democratic Action Party (DAP) and the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).

He said that should the PR take the government, the PKR and PAS would not be able to “control” DAP the way UMNO “controlled (BN’s Chinese component parties) MCA and Gerakan’s ambitions”.

“Malays will become Red Indians in their own land…Now, we are split and being used. PAS and UMNO must think about collaborating, uniting or cooperating at least at the federal level to defend the government from falling to DAP and PKR,” Mr Abdul Hamid said.

Agencies

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